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[personal profile] agentorange
Title: Andriy Babich
Rating: R
Words: 1989
Note: Graphic torture. Set around the arrival of Red Hood in Gotham.



With the sensation of tape being ripped away from his mouth, the man jolted awake. He had been duct taped to a chair in a dark basement which was otherwise nondescript, save for a table laden with tools, including a bottle of lemon juice and a folder, a few feet in front of him. Between him and the table stood a man in an apron and gloves; the last man he wanted to wake up to.

"The Countess sends her apologies she couldn't be here in person, but she entrusted you to me as her personal ambassador."

Roman snickered to himself and sat on the edge of the table.

"Well, that's completely untrue, but she owns you and what she owns is automatically mine, so I hope you got time because I'd like to have a little chat with you...what did you say your name was?"

The man's face was very pale around the red marks the duct tape had made.

"Andriy Babich, sir," he offered eagerly in a Russian accent, hoping to please.

Roman crossed his ankles and leaned back, chatting conversationally.

"Nice to meet you, Andriy. I know you already know who I am, but, please, feel free to call me Roman. How're you doing today?"

"Very good, sir."

Roman raised a hairless eyebrow.

"You don't look too good, Andriy. Your skin is peaked, your breathing is rushed, your voice a little shaky. It'd be a bad start for our conversation if you're lying to me already, and about pointless shit too. I'm gonna ask you again, and I want you to be perfectly honest with me: how're you doing today?"

"I'm very nervous, sir."

Roman smiled.

"That's much better, isn't it? As your employer, I want you to know that nothing is too trivial to lie about, even if you think it'll bore me. Chances are, it will bore me, but it will cost me less effort in the end if I don't have to torture the facts out of you. Capisce?"

Andriy nodded vigorously.

"Ok, so where were we? You're not doing so great, right?"

The man swallowed thickly.

"I am very nervous to be in your presence in such a state, sir."

Roman rose and moved behind the chair, resting his hands heavily on the man's shoulders.

"And why is that, Andriy? It wouldn't be because the Odessa Gang has done something to displease me, would it? Surely you're not hiding anything from me."

He felt Andriy tremble and his grin spread.

"No, sir, I am just unaccustomed to the embrace of duct tape on my body and my wife would be jealous if she knew."

Andriy flinched when Roman guffawed loudly, moving to face him again.

"Well, you just answer my questions and I won't say a word to your wife about your bondage fetish."

He returned to the table, waving his hand over the items.

"Now, I've been feeling pretty generous, so I'm gonna give you a chance to chat before I decide to bring out my toys. I don't often do this, Andriy. I'm a man with instant gratification needs and anger management issues, so you better believe me when I say I'm in a patient, charitable mood."

The Russian nodded once more.

"Thank you, sir."

Roman cleared his throat and continued.

"On the other hand, there's nothing like setting an example and I am a man with instant gratification needs and anger management issues."

Andriy blinked, his pulse thudding in his ears. Roman picked up a cheese grater.

"Did you know ancient Roman slaves were tortured before being interrogated? Any evidence uttered in court was admissible only if they'd first been tortured, because it was thought slaves were incapable of telling the truth otherwise."

Andriy's eyes widened as Roman moved closer, gleefully swinging the grater in his hand.

"I already know you're incapable of telling the truth otherwise, Andriy. Before we begin, I'd like to say a little preamble. Firstly, if you're thinking you're not going to scream because it'll make me mad, you're wrong. I really don't mind the screaming. Secondly, if you're thinking you're not going to scream because you're a manly man, you're wrong. I promise I won't think any less of you if you scream like a little girl, which you will, by the way. And lastly, if you're thinking you're not going to scream because you won't give me the satisfaction, you're wrong. I got my daily quota to fill, and, son, I've never not filled it. Shall we begin?"

Roman did not wait for an answer. He set upon Andriy's forehead, the skin peeling off in thin strips. The man hissed in pain through clenched teeth, refusing to scream. Blood trickled between his thick eyebrows. Roman mocked pouted.

"No? Nothing?"

He set the metal implement against Andriy's bulbous nose, humming the main theme of Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture while he vigorously grated. Andriy howled in pain as the tip of his nose was removed.

"See? I told you so," Roman sneered, grating away flesh until Andriy's howls had turned to screams and bone was exposed.

Blood dribbled freely over the man's lips and onto his chest. Roman tutted, setting the grater back on the table.

"Oh, stop your bitching. You'll live."

Roman reclined against the table, enjoying Andriy's whimpers.

"Sufficiently warmed up? Yes? No?"

A blood bubble popped from Andriy's nose. Roman watched it dangle from his upper lip, wondering if the Russian would lick it off. He did not.

"Want to tell me about that factory explosion last night, Andy?"

The man grunted.

"Andriy."

Roman grabbed the bottle of lemon juice and squirted it onto the remains of Andriy's nose. While the man screamed, Roman continued.

"I don't care what the fuck your name is. What happened at the factory?"

He waited for the Russian to catch his breath. The "factory" in question had been one of the Odessa Gang's biggest assets; nearly half the heroin in Gotham had circulated from there. Andriy had been appointed to oversee its business. Now it was a pile of smoldering rubble.

"I don't know. One minute I'm in the office checking the book. The next minute I'm blown out of the window in a ball of fire," the Russian labored. "Then I find Vincenzo, one of the mules, in the alley, with nothing left below the waist. Before he died, he told me something."

Roman leaned forward.

"He told me he saw a man on the roof of the next building, watching while the factory burned. The man waved at Vincenzo and left."

The crime lord frowned as much as his face would allow.

"Did the mule say what the man looked like?"

Andriy shook his head.

"No, Vincenzo could not see his face. He was wearing a helmet."

"What color helmet?"

"Vincenzo said it was red."

Roman turned and picked up the folder from among the tools. He took out a photo and held it before Andriy's face.

"Is this the guy?"

The Russian hesitated.

"I did not see the man, sir. Vincenzo did."

Roman put the photo back into the folder.

"You sure you didn't see him?"

Andriy nodded vigorously, blood spattering his shirt. Roman rifled through the folder.

"There's something I don't understand, Andriy. If you never saw him, then why," he pulled out a photo to show the restrained man, "do I have a picture of you and the Red Hood taken an hour before the explosion?"

The color in Andriy's face drained.

"You look real chummy too."

"Let me explai-"

Roman cut him off.

"I think I've let you do enough already."

He tossed the folder back onto the table and picked up a hatchet.

"What were doing talking to Hood?" Roman asked, his face inches from Andriy's.

The Russian stared at the hatchet, shaking in his chair.

"What are you going to do-"

Roman stepped to Andriy's right and raised the hatchet over the man's wrist, which had been taped to the arm of the chair.

"I'm going to give you an incentive to tell the truth. Now tell me: what did you talk about with Hood?"

Andriy's face was slick with sweat and blood. It ran into his eyes, but still he kept them locked to the hatchet.

"Nothing, I swear on my father's grave."

Roman tutted, the leer on his face not matching the flinty tone of his voice.

"Your lies are trying my patience, Andriy."

Andriy's right hand was severed just below the duct tape that held his arm to the chair. It fell to the floor with a splat, the sound inaudible over Andriy's screams. Roman stood in contemplation for a moment, and then returned to the table to pick up a blow torch. While the Russian screamed, Roman cauterized the wound.

"He said he wanted all the profits!" Andriy howled.

Roman moved to his left side, his shadow falling ominously over the restrained man.

"You better keep talking, Andriy, these cliff hanger sentences are leaving much to be desired."

Andriy choked back a sob.

"He told me I work for him or I work for no one. I thought he was, just, some psycho, I swear. I told him to fuck off. He laughed under the helmet and he left."

Roman gritted his teeth loudly, causing Andriy to cringe. When he spoke, his voice was low and angry.

"And you didn't think to report the incident to me immediately?"

Andriy was silent. Roman heaved a sigh and swung the hatchet. The blade did not cut all the way through Andriy's left wrist, and Roman was forced to yank the hatchet from the tissue. He hacked savagely through the bones, chopping off the end of the chair's wooden arm. He threw the hatchet across the room after the severed hand had fallen to the floor.

"I should let you bleed to death right here, Andriy. The profit you lost me from that factory is a million times more than your life is worth. I should steal the life blood from you like you stole from me."

Andriy sputtered a denial, keenly aware of his blood pumping out onto the floor. Roman backhanded him roughly.

"Not reporting Hood to me enabled him to get away with that shit. You enabled him. You let him steal from me. You stole from me," he hissed, punctuating each "you" with a furious jab of his finger into the remains of Andriy's nose.

"Please, don't kill me," the Russian sobbed between screams, "I have a family. A wife. A little boy."

Roman jerked his finger out of the wound and cauterized the spurting wrist, charring the ragged flesh black while he spoke.

"I'm not gonna kill you, Andriy old pal. Least, not physically anyway. You're a shit poor minion, but you'll be an excellent example of why you don't fuck with Black Mask."

Roman returned the torch to the table in exchange for a bundle of twine, of which he cut a length. Then he tied an end around each of the severed hands.

"You'll never touch your wife again, Andriy, but more importantly, you'll always have an excuse not to file a report again. If that ain't poetic justice, I don't know what is."

He arranged the hands around Andriy's neck, leaning down to put his face to the Russian's mutilated one.

"You're fired, Andriy. The only thing you have to look forward to is a life full of night terrors and being unable to rub one out. Sounds exciting, doesn't it? I can tell you're ecstatic; I am."

Roman turned away, peeling off his gloves as he walked to the door. With his hand on the handle, he called over his shoulder.

"I'll be watching you, Andriy. Every time you need your wife to wipe your ass for you, I'll know. Every time you tell your son you can't play catch with him, I'll know. See you around, Andriy Babich."

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May 2010

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